With packaging or packaging we commonly define the object made of various materials, with the intent to preserve, protect, transport, ship or present the products inside. An important function that may seem obvious to us but which is not really, is that of containing food: in fact the packaging must be processed taking into account the size, consistency and ingredients of the food in order to guarantee its shelf life.
In general, the primary function of a packaging is to protect the product and facilitate transport, preventing damage and extending its duration. This aspect takes on even greater importance in the food sector, where products are often perishable and therefore need to be stored in precise conditions. Innovation in the field of food packaging allows us to always discover new materials, so as to favor the integrity of the product, to guarantee greater safety, a longer shelf-life and also greater sustainability!
Over the years, however, other functions have also acquired more and more importance for packaging: such as information and marketing. The potential of food packaging to influence consumer purchasing choices has been studied extensively and various aspects relating to size, shape, color, materials used and information reported have been taken into consideration.
It is important to keep in mind that most of the decisions to buy or not a product are made directly at the point of sale, therefore supermarkets and grocery stores. This means that the decision is made on the spot, based primarily on the information conveyed by the product packaging and label. From this point of view, packaging becomes the main player in the game and must be able to differentiate the product from the others on the shelf.
What strikes us about packaging?
We have said that food packaging is the main responsible for our purchasing choices, but what in particular about this tool catches our attention? Numerous studies have been carried out in this regard, and the elements to be taken into consideration have emerged:
- Our color: it is the first element that catches our eye: consumers make a first impression of the product in just 90 seconds, and over the 60% of this impression comes precisely from the color. It must be considered that the choice of colors of a packaging is never random but is usually representative of the food contained: for example, green and brown are associated, in common perception, with organic and organic foods, as well as evoking the idea of health. In fact, all IoBoscoVivo packaging features these two colors which are also those of our logo precisely to highlight the organic and healthy characteristics associated with our products. Another example is the black color, associated with the idea of luxury and therefore used above all for fine food products; In fact, we have chosen this color for our line of gourmet products such as the velvety shiitake and black garlic!
- Our material: this element is becoming increasingly important not only for the "protection" of the content but also for consumers who are increasingly becoming aware of environmental sustainability.
But what does environmental sustainability mean?
Globally, it is estimated that by 2050 the population will reach 10 billion people, causing a significant increase in food demands and causing continuous pressure on production chains. In addition, it is impossible not to consider the important food waste produced every year: about a third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted.
Having made these considerations, it is clear that in the future, current production schemes will no longer be sustainable. Two key points for improving food production are therefore optimizing yield by taking care of the environment and reducing waste.
The true sustainability of any product or service is achieved only when the three pillars of sustainability are considered and respected: People, Planet and Profits. Thanks to its main functions, food packaging can play a role of fundamental importance in improving the sustainability of the food sector.
The most recent scientific studies have shown how food packaging can bring benefits to the environment even only through a better shelf life of food which is reflected in a reduction in food waste. Few consider packaging solutions with a view to Life Cycle Thinking (LCT): it is a common idea to consider packaging as an additional environmental burden on the life cycle of the food product, rather than enhancing its key role in the conservation and protection of food.
In other words, in many cases only the environmental impacts deriving from the production and disposal phases of packaging are considered and the so-called "indirect effects" are not examined, such as the possible environmental benefits that packaging can bring to the life cycle of the product. thanks to better functions of protection, conservation and extension of the shelf life.
In conclusion, we have seen how the packaging has gone from being a simple protective and conservation wrapping to a real marketing element with which to communicate important information relating to the product. Furthermore, we must try to enter the LCT perspective by aiming to develop models that can reduce the amount of food waste and favoring the use of totally recyclable materials in order to help their disposal. Precisely for this reason for IoBoscoVivo products we aim to create totally recyclable packaging and one of the objectives we have set ourselves for this year is the creation of paper packaging for some new references!
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- Wyrwa, J., Barska, A. (2017) Packaging as a Source of Information about Food Products. Procedia Engineering 182, 770 - 779
- What is Life Cycle Thinking? Available at https://www.lifecycleinitiative.org/starting-life-cycle-thinking/what-is-life-cycle-thinking/
- Food Hub. (2021) Food product packaging: from protection to marketing tool. Available at https://www.foodhubmagazine.com/